Friday, October 12, 2007

Flu Misconception

If you think your flu vaccination is going to protect you from contracting the “stomach flu,” think again.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say the “stomach flu” is a common misnomer used to describe viral gastroenteritis—a stomach virus not at all caused by the influenza viruses. The seasonal flu virus is a respiratory disease--not a stomach disease.

Viral gastroenteritis is a contagious condition causing vomiting and diarrhea. This virus can be contracted through person-to-person contact, contaminated utensils, drinking glasses, food, and water.

Stomach problems can be related to the flu, especially in children, but is rarely the main cause of the flu. Symptoms are a headaches, abdominal cramps, and a fever that can last from one to ten days depending on the type of virus.

According to, several viruses cause viral gastroenteritis: rotavirus and astrovirus cause symptoms in the cooler months (October through April) and the Norovirus is prevalent in institutionalized and group settings.

According to, remember to wash your hands twenty seconds after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, wash hands before eating, and disinfect contaminated surfaces before using them to prevent contracting a stomach virus.

If you have viral gastroenteritis, says the best way to recover is by getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids and reintroducing foods including toast, bananas, broth, apples and rice. Be certain to avoid caffeine, dairy products and alcoholic beverages until symptoms are gone.


Taisha Walker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug Plagens said...

I consider myself an avid influenza enthusiast who does not like to get the flu. After your last blog, I actually went to the county's website and made an appointment for a flu shot, so thanks on that front.

But I never realized that typical stomach flu's could be things other than just that: your typical stomach flu. Like Taisha, you had me at diarrhea.

Stories like this come around every year, but they are important. Reinforcing in people's minds the importance of keeping things clean to prevent the spread of flu is key. Good job.

Taisha Walker said...

Chelsea, I thought your topic was very eye catching; guess it was the diarrhea that caught my attention. I would have loved to see more lionks in your story. For instance, it contained lots of medical jargon which I didn't see definition for such as rotovirus and norovirus. I had to look those up myself, which as a reader people may tend to get lazy and stop reading your story alltogether. If you could break down and add links to a few of these words i think the piece would be a little more reader friendly.

Kristen LaVerghetta said...

I thought this was a great topic! I didn't know that "the stomach flu" wasn't actually the flu. Like Doug, I am also getting a flu shot in the near future. I guess I will still have to worry about this though!

I really liked It seems to have helpful hints about pretty much every topic! It seems like a wonderful website to get story ideas off of as well! It will become a regular part of my internet searches!

Joyce Ogirri said...

I really like this story because it let's people know that you can't treat the stomach flu like the regular flu. It's very important to know how you can prevent the stomach flu.

I'm happy to see that you used the website from my helium story. The howstuffworks website is a good place to find story ideas and get background information. This website has many different tabs that you can choose from like the entertainment tab. After clicking on this tab, then it's broken up into seven subcategories: arts, movies, music, sports, television, toys, and games. I really think this website has a lot to offer everyone in the class because it doesn't just focus on one topic.

Alex Reed said...

I have to tell you, is really something. My favorite story on there is "How Murphy's Law Works." I heard about the law a lot of times in the past and knew what it was, but after reading such a detailed article, I can now say I understand it. For one, I now know that there actually was a Captain Edward A. Murphy Jr. I also didn't know the Law uses probability to to support itself.

Andrea Berry said...

Eeeep! Thanks for this eye opener... I'm of the type to take my chances around flu season; that and I'm not keen on getting poked with needles, but I digress... I love the how stuff works site! My betrothed and I often debate on the usefulness of the microwave oven. His debate is that it changes the molecular structure of the food and thus is "icky". From the website I wasn't able to confirm nor deny his accusations, but now I have some technological explainations to use as ammo. Thanks!